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Sometimes you forget how the Game has Changed...

During Don Cherry's one season coaching the Colorado Rockies, Denver was dotted with billboards that proclaimed: "Come to the fights and watch a Rockies game break out!" That image of hockey is forever burned on the brains of casual hockey fans - when I try to explain that hockey is different now, people laugh. But the game really has changed. For example, misconducts have dropped by a factor of four over the last 20 years, and game misconducts are six times lower:


Not surprisingly, the misconduct leaders of the last 20 years are almost all out of the game:

Player Misc
Gino Odjick 60
Craig Berube 56
Marty McSorley 54
Chris Chelios 50
Basil Mcrae 49
Matthew Barnaby 48
Gary Roberts 46
Kelly Chase 44
Mick Vukota 42
Donald Brashear 41

Same goes for Game Misconduct leaders:

Player GM
Gino Odjick 30
Bryan Marchment 30
Marty McSorley 28
Bob Probert 28
Jim Cummins 28
Kelly Chase 25
Brendan Shanahan 25
Craig Berube 24
Gary Roberts 24
Lyle Odelein 24

Major Penalties are also down, though nowhere near as drastically as misbehavior-related misconducts:


The leaders in major penalties over the last 20 years are also mostly retired. Laperriere likely has a few years left, so he could conceivably finish in 5th place:

Player Majors
Tie Domi 273
Jeff Odgers 246
Craig Berube 244
Robert Ray 241
Stu Grimson 217
Donald Brashear 216
Bob Probert 205
Kelly Buchberger 203
Matthew Barnaby 198
Ian Laperriere 195

Obviously, our list is missing a lot of pre-1987 majors. Surprisingly, penalties peaked on a per-game basis not in the "Slapshot" era, but in 1991, so we still capture a lot of the biggest penalty-takers of all-time - and of the future: it is very difficult for a modern NHL player to rack up the kinds of penalties that we saw in the past.